Spark Capital suddenly has $1 billion to invest

Spark Capital suddenly has $1 billion to invest

Posted 21 seconds ago by Connie Loizos (@cookie)
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Spark Capital, whose investments have included Oculus VR, Twitter, and Cruise Automation, has closed on $1 billion in commitments, it revealed earlier today. The 11-year-old firm, which has offices in Boston, San Francisco, and New York, was known to be raising at least $370 million for its fifth early-stage fund, Spark Capital V, having registered the fund with the SEC back in March. That fund closed with $400 million. Its predecessor fund closed with $450 million in 2013.

The firm also closed its second growth fund with $600 million, just two years after launching its debut growth fund with $375 million in capital. Like a lot of early-stage funds that have raised so-called opportunity funds in recent years, Spark uses the capital to invest in its breakout portfolio companies. Among the startups it has funded are the Brazilian real estate portal VivaReal and the automated investing platform Wealthfront.

Spark has enjoyed a string of hits in its relatively short existence. Among its exits: the headset maker Oculus was sold to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014; Twitter went public in 2013; Wayfair, an online home furnishings company went public in 2014; and the autonomous driving tech startup Cruise Automation sold earlier this year to General Motors for a reported $1 billion.

The firm also holds stakes in the highly valued messaging service Slack and in the still-private eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker.

Spark is among a growing spate of early-stage venture funds that are suddenly managing far more money than they ever had previously. Other firms that have manage to raise significantly higher amounts than in past years include Forerunner Ventures, a San Francisco-based firm that focuses primarily on e-commerce opportunities and has raised at least $122 million this year, up from a $40 million debut fund in 2012; and Accel Partners, which closed on $2 billion across two new funds earlier this year, up from two funds that totaled $1.45 billion just three years earlier.

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